State favors town of Manlius in appeals case

Since 2007, Manlius residents Dr. Joe and Marcia Novek have claimed the town of Manlius hasn't been properly enforcing the state's Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Codes at The Bluffs, specifically a four-unit complex in that community that once fell victim to a 2002 mudslide. The Noveks reside at 8183 Bluffview Drive, part of the complex.

On May 20, a hearing was held before an independent board comprised of state-appointed members. The Noveks' petition, filed with the Department of State, involved an appeal of the town of Manlius' determination that there were no code violations present in the townhouse adjoining their home.

After a 45-minute to an hour deliberation, town attorney Tim Frateschi said the board declared that the town of Manlius has acted appropriately on all accounts, following codes procedures during the questioned time period.

The hearing was the latest after several Novek vs. TOM court cases that took place over the past eight years -- each with the same outcome in support of the town. In just the past two to three years, the town has spent between $5,000 and $7,000, mostly in litigation, specifically related to the code enforcement at 8181 Bluffview Drive.

"We believe that the counsel heard all the evidence and this is the appeal that the Noveks made ," said Frateschi at the May 26 town board meeting. "They had a full opportunity to present their case and they did, and ultimately the counsel agreed with the town of Manlius that the code is being properly enforced."

The Noveks, however, don't intend to back down.

Novek said he and his wife believe the process was compromised, and they have since submitted for an "impartial review by a complete review board in a change of venue."

Novek said he believes the board was incomplete with only three out of five members present to hear the case -- with the engineer being one of the members who was absent.

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